Dbytes #180 (20 January 2015)

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group

“Those of us who geek out over adaptive management algorithms are frequently disappointed to discover that the elegance of active adaptive management rarely translates to major improvements in outcomes. Springborn points out that this might be because we’re all hung up on the mean outcome. If we instead look at the entire distribution of plausible outcomes then these approaches have more to offer, such as guarding against disaster.” Cindy Hauser on her nomination of best paper for 2014 [Editor’s note: I forgot the link to the QAECO blog on their favourite science papers in last week’s Dbytes. So, here it is now: http://qaeco.com/2014/12/19/qaecos-favourite-ecology-and-conservation-papers-of-2014/ ]

General News

1. New report prioritises funding to catchments near the Great Barrier Reef

2. Environmental information and data on the Department of Environment’s website: Find Environmental Data (FED)

3. A new metric to highlight unis you’d like to work at

4. NSW baulks at protecting Alps from feral horses

5. Long-term environmental water monitoring programme for the MDB

EDG News

Brisbane: The Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS) is now underway
Melbourne: Laura Pollock on linking species distribution models and phylogenies
Canberra: Workshop on the legal and institutional dimensions of biodiversity offsetting
Perth: Rachel Standish and colleagues use restoration records to measure impacts of climate variability

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General News

1. New report prioritises funding to catchments near the Great Barrier Reef Knowing how to target spending to gain the best improvement in water quality is vital for the future health of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. The recently released Prioritisation Project Report is designed to help prioritise funding decisions. It supports the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan 2013 http://www.agriculture.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/natural-resources/reef-water.pdf

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2. Environmental information and data on the Department of Environment’s website: Find Environmental Data (FED) The Department’s Environmental Resources Information Network recently launched a new geoportal for searching and browsing the contents of the Department’s spatial metadata service – Find Environmental Data (FED). FED is a central repository for metadata. The information is accessible to everyone, through searching by geographic extent, content type, content theme or keyword, or browsing through all of the available metadata documents and using the metadata to decide whether the data it describes meets specific needs. FED will allow the department to integrate datasets with other Commonwealth services such as the Australian Government’s spatial data catalogue FIND and data.gov.au. FED replaces the previous data and information portal, Discover Information Geographically (DIG) so now is the time to update desktop shortcuts. FED can be accessed through the Department’s website by clicking on the ‘data’ tab of the navigation bar at the top of every page. http://www.environment.gov.au/about-us/environmental-information-data

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3. A new metric to highlight unis you’d like to work at [Recommended by Megan Evans] Jenny Martin proposed rankings would allow people to make informed decisions about where to study, teach and conduct research. She says: “It follows then that a higher rank will mean more students, especially international students, and this in turn means more money coming into the university.” https://cubistcrystal.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/imagine-theres-new-metrics-its-easy-if-you-try/

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4. NSW baulks at protecting Alps from feral horses [From the Invasive Species Council] “The NSW government has stymied its prospects of protecting precious alpine habitats from feral horses by ruling out aerial shooting as a control method. Three months out from the NSW state election in March, Environment Minister Rob Stokes and local member for Monaro, John Barilaro, jointly announced that the revised horse management plan for Kosciuszko National Park would no longer include aerial shooting (or brumby running) as an option. This will remove the only option to prevent the increasing feral horse numbers and growing degradation in Kosciuszko National Park.” http://invasives.org.au/blog/nsw-baulks-protecting-alps-feral-horses/

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5. Long-term environmental water monitoring programme for the MDB A new five year monitoring plan for the Murray-Darling Basin will provide knowledge into the effectiveness of environmental watering. The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder’s long-term monitoring and evaluation activity is a $30 million Commonwealth investment in monitoring and evaluation to 2019. Areas of focus include the Gwydir, Lachlan, Edward-Wakool, Murrumbidgee, Goulburn, Lower Murray and the Junction of the Warrego and Darling valleys. http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/birmingham/2014/mr20141112.html

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EDG News

Brisbane: The Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS) is now underway UQ and EDG are now running Australia’s second SCCS from 19-29 January. Following the same format as in 2013, the conference will be 10 days of fun! We combine a 3-day conference with over 60 presentations, training and workshops, field trips and sightseeing in Brisbane and surrounds, not to mention the farewell party and awards night! http://www.sccs-aus.org/

Melbourne: Laura Pollock on linking species distribution models and phylogenies

“When using phylogenies in spatial conservation prioritisation, we need to link the phylogeny with distribution data. Increasingly, distribution data is used to predict where species occur across the landscape using a species distribution model (SDM). SDMs are currently underused in conservation, but have great potential for a variety of applications from threatened species management to conservation planning. Our recent paper shows how to use SDMs with a phylogeny in spatial conservation planning (this method could also be used for a variety of applications linking phylogenies and SDMs).” https://lshirleypollock.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/linking-species-distribution-models-sdm-and-phylogenies/

Canberra: Workshop on the legal and institutional dimensions of biodiversity offsetting

Megan Evans and colleagues are running a workshop on offsetting at the ANU. Biodiversity offsetting operates within a complex socio-political system, containing a range of participants and institutions with varying motivations and objectives. This system requires institutional mechanisms to transfer permitting obligations between different participants, and legal processes which facilitate and enforce these obligations. Appropriately aligned processes are required to stimulate market participation, effectively codify and support the transfer of rights and obligations, and to facilitate engagement in the broader monitoring and compliance requirements to achieve the required policy and environmental outcomes.

These issues all ultimately influence the likely environmental outcomes from biodiversity offsetting; yet generally receive limited attention as they sit outside of the disciplinary domain of ecologists, who have been most active in the policy debate surrounding offsetting. A key concern underlying the use of biodiversity offsetting is whether the intended environmental outcomes are actually being delivered (Australian Senate Inquiry into Environmental Offsets, 2014). A crucial role therefore exists for business leaders, researchers from economics, law, political and policy sciences to make fundamental and applied contributions to research on biodiversity offsetting.

Perth: Rachel Standish and colleagues use restoration records to measure impacts of climate variability Long-term ecological data offer valuable insight into ecosystem responses to global change. Rachel and her colleagues make use of a long-term dataset on the success and failure of jarrah-forest restoration following bauxite mining to measure the effects of climate variability on seedling establishment. Their paper will contribute to much needed understanding of forest resilience to climate change. Reference: Standish, R. J., Daws, M. I., Gove, A. D., Didham, R. K., Grigg, A. H., Koch, J. M., Hobbs, R. J. (2015), Long-term data suggest jarrah-forest establishment at restored mine sites is resistant to climate variability. Journal of Ecology, 103: 78–89. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12301 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2745.12301/abstract [Part of a Special Feature on Forest Resilience, Tipping points and Global change processes]

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David Salt (David.Salt@anu.edu.au). Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it. To unsubscribe or change your details please visit: http://lists.science.uq.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/dbites

Please pass this link to any others who may want to subscribe too.

 

About EDG The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG is jointly funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program (NERP) and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence program (CEED). CEED: http://ceed.edu.au/ NERP ED: http://www.nerpdecisions.edu.au/ EDG: http://www.edg.org.au/

EDG major events: http://www.edg.org.au/events.html Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

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